"About 15 percent of Central Africans are Muslims, and for much of the country's 54-year history, they lived in relative harmony with the Christian majority. But in the last year, CAR has collapsed—first in a spasm of political violence and now in a grisly carnival of factional and religious slaughter that has left it one of the very worst places on Earth."
Born to professors in what was then still a British colony, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala was a teenager when civil war broke out in Nigeria seven years after independence, and she ended up working as a cook for the Biafran rebels on the frontlines.
"During the first year of the Xi administration, China's policy toward Africa has shown several new trends that illustrate Beijing's evolving priorities and strategies in the continent. These new trends foreseeably will have significant implications for the future of Africa and Sino-Africa relations."
"Dieu-Beni is Christian, which is why it is odd to find him among the Seleka's mainly Muslim fighters. But like Mousaf, he is an exception — an example of why this conflict cannot be described as religious alone."
"Darfur's combatants, particularly the Sudanese government, have effectively neutered the U.N. peacekeeping mission, undermining its capacity to fulfill its primary duty to protect nearly 2 million civilians displaced by Sudan's genocide. During the past year alone, more than 500,000 terrified men, women, and children have poured into the region's already overcrowded refugee camps."
As the first outbreak of ebola in West Africa in twenty years claims over seventy lives, Laurie Garrett looks back at past epidemics in the region, drawing on her own experience reporting on 1995's ebola epidemic in Kikwit, Zaire. Lessons were learned, and it's now up to Guinea to remember them.
"Five months into his first term in office, President Barack Obama laid out his vision for how American values would guide his thinking in crafting foreign policy. 'We uphold our most cherished values not only because doing so is right, but because it strengthens our country and it keeps us safe,' he said at the time…. The next five years have shown the difficulty that comes when some of those values clash with each other, jostling for dominance."
Jason Stearns, director of the Usalama project at the Rift Valley Institute, discusses the current situation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo with professors and students, as part of CFR's Academic Conference Call series.
"Museveni claims that he decided to sign the bill into law because he concluded there is no scientific evidence that homosexuality is determined by a person's genes, and is therefore 'deviant' behavior."
Authors: Karol Boudreaux, Tiernan Mennen, Larry Diamond, and Jack Mosbacher
Larry Diamond and Jack Mosbacher ("Petroleum to the People," September/October 2013) rightly observe that the coming oil boom in Africa is, paradoxically, a frightening prospect for the continent's poor and marginalized.
"China has long maintained a no-strings-attached approach to doing business in Africa, with little involvement in conflict resolution. But the friction in recent years between Sudan and South Sudan, and now within South Sudan, has resulted in a marked change because of China's interest in maintaining its oil supply."
"The campaign of looting and murder in recent weeks has led to an alarming demographic crisis in the Central African Republic. About 1 million of its 4.6 million people have been displaced and at least 2,000 have been killed."
"A quiet boom in manufacturing in Africa is already taking place. Farming and services are still dominant, backed by the export of commodities, but new industries are emerging in a lot of African countries."
"The court's future now rests to a large extent on the battle being waged between African leaders with little interest in justice and those Africans, including many activists and victims, who see an end to impunity for mass atrocities as essential for Africa's future. One can only hope that the welfare of African people takes precedence over the perceived interests of African leaders."
U.S. strategic interests in Africa's Sahel have been marginal for decades, but there is a strong case for expanding ties with regional allies to quell a spreading security threat, write J. Peter Pham and CFR's John Campbell.
Asked by George Macharia, from University of Nairobi
Terrorism in the Horn of Africa is a complex problem that requires a "full spectrum" solution. The first step in any counterterrorism campaign is developing an understanding of the terrorists' motivations and goals. In the Horn of Africa, the chief terrorist threat emanates from al-Shabab fighters attempting to violently overthrow the Somali government and impose fundamentalist Islamic law. The group and its affiliates are also attempting to sow unrest in neighboring countries like Kenya.
The Council on Foreign Relations' David Rockefeller Studies Program—CFR's "think tank"—is home to more than seventy full-time, adjunct, and visiting scholars and practitioners (called "fellows"). Their expertise covers the world's major regions as well as the critical issues shaping today's global agenda. Download the printable CFR Experts Guide.
Campbell evaluates the implications of the Boko Haram insurgency and recommends that the United States support Nigerian efforts to address the drivers of Boko Haram, such as poverty and corruption, and to foster stronger ties with Nigerian civil society.
Koblentz argues that the United States should work with other nuclear-armed states to manage threats to nuclear stability in the near term and establish processes for multilateral arms control efforts over the longer term.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2014 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »